What better way to enjoy the holidays is there than hosting your own tournament?
Well, that is exactly what the Letcher County Central Cougars did this past weekend as they hosted the East Kentucky Physical Therapy Holiday Tournament. This was a three-day tournament that featured Bellevue, Leslie County, Prestonsburg, and Letcher Central and it tipped off last Thursday.
In the first game of the tournament Leslie County knocked off Prestonsburg and the Cougars took on Bellevue in the second game. Bellevue is out of Newport and had to make the long trip to Ermine. The Cougars came out of the gate quickly and led 7-0 after a trey by Josh Profitt and buckets by Jordon Reynolds and Devon Blair. Another trey by Profitt broke it open at 12-3. The Cougars led 19-9 after one quarter.
Reynolds took over under the goal in the second quarter as he notched his 10th point before halftime. Bellevue made a little noise in the second quarter and trailed 37-28 at the break.
The Cougars would break it open in the third as Profitt nailed two more treys and Charlie Banks and Reynolds controlled the inside as the Cougars pulled out to a 58-38 lead after three quarters. It was mop-up duty after that as the Cougars coasted to a 75-47 victory.
The Cougars had balanced scoring for the evening as they were led by Charlie Banks who is really starting to come on. He had 18 on the night and was followed closely by Jordon Reynolds, who played a monster game and had 17 points. Josh Profitt hit for 15 and all came from downtown as he was 5-7 on three pointers. Devon Blair also had double figures with 14 as he ran the show. Malachi Longworth had his usual good defensive game with his quickness and steals and he put in 4 points. They also got 2 points each from McKenzie Smith, Chase Adams, and Eric Ison. James Gose chipped in 1. The Cougars improved to 4-5 on the season.
On Friday night the Cougars took on Prestonsburg. Much as they did the night before, the Cougars let the Blackcats hang around for the first half as they led 36-30 at the break but it was lights out after that as they dominated after halftime to roll 72-49 and improve to 5-5.
Again, the scoring was balanced as they placed five players in double figures. Jordon Reynolds played another big game and led the way with 14 points. Malachi Longworth and Josh Profitt each had 12 points. Charlie Banks had 11 points and Eric Ison played solid with 10. Devon Blair put in 8 points and Chase Adams had 2, as did Cole Cornett. James Gose had 1.
It was on to the championship game against a 14th region rival, the Leslie County Eagles. Leslie County had come into the tournament with a record of 1-7 but had beaten Bellevue 49-45 and Prestonsburg 65-60 to improve to 3-7.
Again, the Cougars jumped out fast and led 10-0 before the Eagles could find the basket. Josh Profitt hit two treys in that stretch to get it going for the Cougars. The Cougars led 18-8 after one quarter and really blew it open in the second as they outscored the Eagles 24-11 to take a commanding 41-19 lead into the locker room at halftime. Charlie Banks led the way at the break with 15 points.
With the game safely in hand, Coach Justice saw the opportunity to let his younger players get some extended minutes in the third quarter and he did just that as these players finished the game and a lot of new faces hit the floor. The young Cougars continued to build on the lead as they led 60-29 after three and went on to win 72-39 and take home the big hardware.
This was a good tournament for the Cougars and it should give them a little momentum as they start to play in the district. They will start district play against defending 14th Region champ June Buchanan tonight (Wednesday) at Pippa Passes.
Against Leslie County the Cougars got another solid game from their starters as Banks led the way with 16 followed by Devon Blair with 13. Cole Cornett had a big game with 10 off the bench. Josh Profitt had nine points as he finished the tournament with 11 treys. Six each went to Longworth, Reynolds, and Gose. Brock had 4 and Ison had 2.
The Cougars improve to 6-5 and the defense was the star of the night as they came up with 22 steals and countless easy buckets. They have won five of their last six games and are starting to click at the right time. They will need to click on Wednesday to defeat the Stepps and Company, but it should let the Cougars know where they are this early in the season.